Rip Current Brewing – 1325 Grand Avenue – 92078

We’ve still got a lot of work ahead finishing up the site, as well as some other interesting things still in fermentation but… In the meantime, we’re continuing our stealth sorties on local San Diego Breweries.

Cleared for takeoff and with no turbulence on the horizon, we were able to get airborne with a quickness in this weekend’s First Flight at Rip Current Brewing

rip-current-brewing-tasting-roomFirst Impressions:

Would we go back? (1 forty-something male and 1 thirty-something male) unanimously agreed that we would not hesitate to recommend Rip Current Brewing to any demographic who fancies the craft beer tasting room experience. While I can’t reproduce the conversation verbatim (possibly a side-effect of years of “tasting”), Bri’s feisty yet friendly attitude scored a direct hit on my own East Coast sensibility, one that appreciates snappy verbal repartee… In short, I felt like I was received as a regular, not some chump tourist in a gaudy pimp hat (which was how I looked). We like that 😀

The Beer

Our First Flight at Abnormal Beer Company was prompted by a specific beer we wanted to try, but this little trip to Rip Current was a geographical decision… We had just completed a round of Frisbee Golf at Cal State San Marcos (Saturday afternoon), and a trip to Rip Current was a convenient reward for an afternoon of intense physical activity 😛

White Caps Wheat IPA

rip-current-white-cap-from-the-tankWow… As previously confessed, I tend to be a fan of IPA’s in general, but this brew really impressed both of us. I mean, we’re just getting started here and there’s a lot of beers still to be tasted, but I think this might be the best IPA I’ve had yet. Both of us were decidedly impressed, and while I lack the vocabulary to do it justice, it struck me as “lighter” than the average IPA, not as hoppy as the “typical” West Coast styles, and with a really clean, slightly fruity presence, but by no means sweet. Part of me wonders if there wasn’t some psychological effect produced by the fact that this craft brew wasn’t on the menu at the time because it had just completed it’s magical transformation, so Bri pulled it directly from the tank. Surely a common occurrence for the craft brew establishment, but for pikers like us? Like an early Christmas to the face 😀

The First Flight


Served on a surfboard, this was no tap takeover… These were are all Rip Current recipes which you pick out for yourself, and if you’re so inclined, there were easily enough taps going that day to repeat the process three times without duplicating a selection (and then some). Starting from the left, my choices were as follows:

rip-current-cutback-kolschCutback Kolsch – 5% ABV – Ever since this little experience, I’ve gone a little Kolsch crazy, and after eighteen holes of Frisbee Golf, it was the perfect starting point. I like how this beer (like other Kolsch-style beers I’ve tried) hits a whole different geography on the tongue, especially compared to your IPA’s, Porters, Stouts, etc. Kinda fruity, but like the White Caps, not sweet with a dry finish.

rip-current-bonzer-pale-aleBonzer Pale Ale – ?% ABV – The next logical step following the Kolsch (IMO), this is described on the Rip Current site as “an easy drinking West Coast style Pale Ale that was hopped, and dry hopped, using exclusively New Zealand and Australian hops.” “West Coast style” definitely came to mind on first taste, but I think they’re using the same hops here as in the White Caps IPA, and you can definitely tell. Sorta fruity, but definitely not sweet. Just a nice twist on more “traditional” ales I’m familiar with.

rip-current-impact-zone-ipaImpact Zone IPA – 6.6% ABV – Mmmm… More of those New Zealand and Australian Hops… There is a shared “freshness” I think these hops impart onto all three of these first beers, and as much as I enjoy “chewing” on the hoppy IPA’s I’m accustomed to, this one strikes me as a good choice for the “beginner” who is just being introduced to craft beers, and IPA’s in particular. It’s full-flavored, but eschews a lot of the bitterness normally associated with a lot of the West Coast IPA’s we’ve come to know and love.

rip-current-delaminator-smoked-doppelbockDelaminator Smoked Doppelbock – 7.8% ABV – Okay, this is where I have to cop to really getting outside of my element, and outside of my realm of personal preference. I jumped around on this flight because I wanted to have a little something of everything (as much as possible pulling only 5 out of 18 possible choices that day), but “smokiness” isn’t what I personally gravitate toward in a craft beer. It went down easy and “felt” smooth and full in your mouth, but I think coming off of the aforementioned “freshness” of the three beers which preceded it, it just didn’t work for me. Naturally, if you’re into the smoke thing, you’ll find it here.

rip-current-vanilla-storm-porterVanilla Storm Imperial Porter – 10% ABV – Ah HA! How can you not sample something so named? In short, loved it. I couldn’t help but find some similarities with The Full Pint Anniversary Breakfast Porter I had at Abnormal Beer only a few weeks before, with the exception that one was maple and one was vanilla. I’m new to this style, but man… That Vanilla Storm is like a special treat that you intrinsically know you shouldn’t over indulge in, but the temptation to follow a taster with a full pint is very real. Over indulgence might shorten your evening however, so use responsibly 😉

The Food

rip-current-nomzLike many tasting rooms, Rip Current does the food truck thing (which we love), but we were there too take advantage. That didn’t stop Bri from mugging the nomz so you can see what’s available later in the evening…

The Accommodations


Totally laid back… There was a big ‘ol fan in the door (off camera) which kept a nice breeze going, and despite it’s size, there were literally three different clique’s going at the same time… Folks at their barrels doing their own thing, barflies jabbering with Bri and James (that was us), and a tour going on in therip-current-dogs back where the magic happens. Another trifecta! Just the kind of place I’d naturally gravitate to for an afternoon session, and if you look at the picture, I’d say that sentiment resonated with a pretty diverse age group. Some seniors even showed up at the bar before we left… Good craft beers can be appreciated by all ages, AND species 😉

The Staff

Okay… This one’s on me because I didn’t get Bri and James to mug specifically for the shot that should have been here, but… Sometimes stuff like that happens after stuff like this happens:


In the meantime, both Bri and James were awesome, and we’ll be making a return flight soon enough. Mostly for the beer, but also to correct my mistake 😀

Na zdrowie!

~ BB

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